Friday, 18 January 2019

diva plavalaguna

Via My Modern Met, we are treated to a very talented Chinese opera singer named Jane Zhang perform a nearly pitch-perfect rendition of the iconic “Diva Dance” from Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (previously) to the accompaniment to a full orchestra.
The alien performer on the interstellar cruise, named in the title, bears some resemblance to Bib Fortuna, the majordomo of Jabba the Hutt and wonder if there wasn’t some cross-inspiration there as well. According to cinematic lore, the original performance was voiced by Albanian lyric soprano Inva Mula with the assistance of some post-production audio-editing for achieve the series of high notes in quick succession. More to explore at the link up top including the scene from the movie.

5x5: turophile edition

a brie history of time: ten thousand years of cheese

pink queen: a storied Swiss cheesemaker fulfils a custom order for a client in Hong Kong

crustless: a curated collection of vintage cheese spread labels

non-diary analogue: concluding cheese week with homemade vegan substitutes

cornerstone: a trio of American creameries collaborate to create a new variety, via Coudal Partners  

Thursday, 17 January 2019

i don’t like the idea of getting up and finding out you’ve got a cabbage pill to eat for breakfast or something

This 1966 segment from BBC’s Tomorrow’s World featuring school children offering their outlook on the present through their prognostications on the state of affairs for the year 2000 is quite a bleak one, haunted by nuclear apocalypse, over-population and environmental collapse.
A fairly prescient if not depressing vision of what, having survived the millennium just by a score only to realise that we’re still contending with most of these problems—minus at least some of the benefits that the future promised—has come to pass, not that this was inevitable nor is necessarily inexorable. As British household start stockpiling staples ahead of its messy divorce with the European Union as one might pack provisions into a fall-out shelter, it’s worth noting that Ms May could have been one of those children interviewed, being the exact right age.  We are confident that Ms May was a gloomy and haunted ten year-old.


We were delighted to grow our vocabulary, courtesy of Fancy Notions, with the above, highly onomatopoeic Finnish term that literally means “bouncing cushion satisfaction.” Despite having no true vowels and looking quite intimidating, it’s really quite easy and fun to pronounce, if you channel your inner Swedish Chef or alternatively go here for some help from a native speaker.

rutherfraud b. hayes

As the US federal government is in the midst of the longest partial shutdown in recent memory, the always engrossing Planet Money brings us the story of the very first begrudging lapse in appropriations that struck politicians as so acrimonious and against the spirit of the Republic that it was not revisited until a century later—with caution and trepidation before becoming an everyday bargaining chip.
When the Civil War broke out, Confederate Democrats serving in the House and Senate took leave of their offices to fight for the South (roles were quite reversed) but with reunification, the party had all but forfeited those seats to the Republicans. Seeking to re-establish themselves in halls of government, Democrats worked to disenfranchise African American voters who would ensure that challenger candidates win in their former constituencies by all means necessary, including unabashed voter intimidation. In 1879/1880, the Republican administration of President Hayes, in order to ensure free and fair elections, ordered military troops to monitor polling places in the Reconstruction Era southern US. In response, Democrat congressmen and senators hurled insults, like the one in the title, at Hayes and threatened to withhold releasing funds and effectively suspending government business, unless the soldiers were recalled. It is unclear that the scope of the shutdown was or if they even acted on this threat in the first place—politicians on both sides of the aisle immediately cognisant how badly that sort of budgetary hostage taken could turn out for democracy, to say nothing of denying a population the right to participate therein. Check out the entire episode below and subscribe to Planet Money for more stories like this.